Steve John is the co-founder and executive director of the Agricultural Watershed Institute, a nonprofit research and educational organization based in Decatur, Illinois. AWI’s mission is to conduct research and educational programs on practices and policies to improve water quality, maintain or restore ecosystem health, and conserve and manage land and water resources in agricultural watersheds. A major focus of AWI’s work is on multifunctional cropping systems that include perennial and cover crops as well as annual row crops. Prior to AWI’s formation in 2003, Mr. John was an environmental planning consultant specializing in watershed management, decentralized wastewater systems, and the links between land use and water quality. From 1987 to 1995, he served on the Decatur City Council where he first became involved in watershed approaches to reduce nonpoint source pollution in Lake Decatur. As a council member, he helped to form the Lake Decatur Watershed Committee and served as co-chairman. He serves on the steering committees of the Green Land Blue Waters Consortium and the Illinois Biomass Working Group. He has a BA in Sociology from the University of Notre Dame.
Agricultural Watershed Institute
AWI phone: (217) 877-5640
As Policy Coordinator for Illinois Stewardship Alliance, Wes monitors sustainable agriculture and local food related legislation on the state and federal levels and advocates for policies and programs that support local food and sustainable agriculture. In addition, Wes is working on organizing, coordinating, and building the capacity of grassroots capacity to influence policy decision in Illinois.
Prior to joining ISA, Wes was an organizer at the Illinois Environmental Council conducting policy work for a statewide coalition of environmental organizations. Wes has a BA in Political Studies from the University of Illinois at Springfield and an MA in Political Studies from UIS. While working on his MA, Wes interned at the Illinois EPA and studied the effects of globalization on agriculture in Latin America. Whether it was helping with his father’s organic garden as a child, his experience in the Boy Scouts, or his academic experiences with globalization and agriculture issues in the global south, Wes has always been interested and concerned with society’s metabolic relationship with nature. Following in his father’s footsteps Wes has become an avid organic gardener himself and enjoys hiking and kayaking. Wes is also a member of the Illinois Sierra Club’s state executive committee and the chairman of the Sangamon valley group of the Sierra Club.
For a description of Wes and ISA’s more recent projects, see this post.
Illinois Stewardship Alliance
ISA phone: 217-528-1563
Richard Weinzierl received a B.A. in Biology from Concordia College in Moorhead,
Minnesota, in 1975, his M.S. in Entomology from North Dakota State University in 1979,
and a PhD in Entomology from Oregon State University in 1984. He is currently a professor and extension entomologist in the Department of Crop Sciences at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he joined the faculty as an assistant professor in 1984. He conducts extension educational programs and applied research addressing integrated pest management in vegetable and fruit production, serves as editor of the Illinois Fruit and Vegetable News newsletter, and is the Illinois Coordinator for USDA’s Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) Professional Development Program. He teaches Introduction to Applied Entomology for undergraduates and has taught the graduate courses Fundamentals of Insect Pest Management and Principles of Plant Protection. In 2012, Dr. Weinzierl and a team of personnel from the University of Illinois and the Illinois Migrant Council received a 3-year grant from the USDA NIFA Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program for a project titled “Preparing a New Generation of Illinois Fruit and Vegetable Farmers.”
Julia Govis was the Illinois Farm to School Program Coordinator, at the University of Illinois-Extension. She spent nearly 30 years of experience in the agricultural arena. She owned and operated two small farms in Illinois (LaSalle & Kendall counties) and worked on other farm operations, in both livestock and food production. As a mother of four and former Montessori teacher, she understood the importance of providing children with healthy, fresh food, which is why she also became involved in the National Farm to School Network. In this position, Julia worked as the state lead representing the National Farm to School Network.